This Is Shahnoza In 3 Parts 8 is a print from Julian Opie’s This Is Shahnoza collection (2008) that shows a highly stylised image of a nude model bent backwards and leaning on her right hand, her left hand lifted above her blank, circular head. The subject of the nine-part series of life-size works is a professional pole dancer called Shahnoza and the prints were originally exhibited at the Alan Cristea Gallery in 2008.
This work is indicative of Opie’s desire to work with one idea across a number of different media and compositions, this particular print shown to be divided into three panels that follow the figure’s form, each differing in size. The images used for this series are directly transferred from Opie’s This is Shahnoza Horizontal series from 2007 and in this series the viewer is invited to think about the human form in an unusual and fragmented way.
By depicting Shahnoza in a pose that draws from choreography, gestures and typical iconography of strip shows and catwalks, Opie succinctly conveys the way in which seemingly natural human behaviour is made up of learned performance codes. Indeed, this print exemplifies key themes that run through the artist’s entire oeuvre and what he is renowned for: engagement with art history, use of new technology, and obsession with the human body.